Before the birth of my daughter, I had the life I wanted.
There was the apartment within walking distance of work. Small, but rent included utilities, prompt maintenance support, a tenant-organized swap shop for donating and adopting gently used household goods, and space in a community garden.
What we didn’t grow in the garden we bought at the farmer’s market a short walk down the road or from the community-supported Food Co-op on our walk home from school. We learned to can jams, pickles, salsa, ketchup and hot sauce. We made bread and yogurt.
Food scraps went into the compost. Tissues were replaced with handkerchiefs. We stopped buying paper towels, napkins, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil. Other than a few recyclables each week, we were living mostly waste and plastic-free.
All of these changes were made over many years. Slowly picking up skills, finding little ways to minimize our impact on the environment, to become more connected to the natural world despite spending our working lives indoors conversing with machines.
It’s surprising how quickly good habits can be broken.
After the birth of our daughter much of the progress we’d made was lost. It started in small spurts of having close family stay with us and do the shopping. Soon the kitchen was covered in disposable plastic containers and the trash and recycling multiplied. There was the occasional disposable diaper and a huge increase in laundry of all kinds. We prepared as best we could for parenthood, buying minimal baby gear and mostly making do. Our focus was on learning about pregnancy and then baby development. What I didn’t prepare for were the other people who would be living in our home and taking care of us and our baby.
Now that we are settled into our new home in Cambridge, it’s time to get back to where we were a (very long) year ago. With a different location and rental situation the resources have changed. There is no longer a convenient compost pile, or a garden, or even a south-facing window for growing plants indoors. There is no community-supported Co-op on the way to work (although there are multiple farmer’s markets). But the public library, the doctor’s office, our daughter’s daycare, our bank, and a beautiful park are all within easy walking distance. There are also community gardens nearby and my name is on the two-year-long waiting list. While we may have taken a few steps back, I have no doubt that changing our habits the second time will be easier.
Starting with getting more sleep…
Baby Adi wearing a handmade blouse and wrap dress that were made for me when I was a baby.